Whether in whole or in part, IT security operations are increasingly being outsourced.
According to Gartner, more than half of surveyed organizations will be outsourcing at least some of their security operations to Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) within the next year.
Brisk sector growth is good news for MSSPs. But it can be challenging to compete, earn profits, and grow while operating cost-effectively and meeting or exceeding customer expectations. MSSPs need both great process and maximal operational efficiency—especially in the face of an industry-wide cybersecurity staffing shortage.
MSSP staffing challenges
Successfully managing an MSSP is a far more people-centric task than many would imagine. Although heavily dependent on technology, the real competitive advantage of an MSSP rests with its people. And finding and retaining skilled cybersecurity staff is crucial in maintaining efficient operations. MSSPs need to solve challenges like:
- Overwhelmed staff: Cybersecurity tools produce so many security alerts that staff get overwhelmed when there’s a spike in incidents. This affects productivity and can increases exposure if staff gives too little attention to a serious incident.
- 24/7 operations: Cyberattacks happen 24/7, so MSSPs also need to work around the clock. All incidents must be handled the same way regardless of who is working or the time of day.
- Tribal knowledge loss: When staff leave, they frequently take important tribal knowledge with This information is critical in maintaining staff effectiveness. If an employee is unfamiliar with the right incident response workflows, response times are slow and alerts are incorrectly investigated, which can lead to a breach.
Security automation and orchestration maximizes MSSP efficiency using existing staff
Security automation and orchestration (SAO) helps MSSPs maximize efficiency by delivering better security while conserving human resources. SAO enhances the level of security and service that MSSPs provide their customers, by increasing internal productivity and maximizing efficiency. SAO makes it possible to handle more alerts with existing staff by using automation, centralized dashboards, and scalable workflows:
Security automation enhances the level of security and services that MSSPs provide their customers, by increasing internal productivity and maximizing efficiency.
By automating time-consuming tasks, MSSPs can increase productivity while reducing incident response times. Every automated step saves a few minutes for each alert, allowing your staff to respond to more alerts in the same amount of time. Automation provides your cybersecurity staff with the opportunity to use their training and skills for real investigatory work rather than tedious manual tasks.
Powerful, easily customized dashboards centralize relevant information from all your IT security tools, delivering anything from granular vent detail to macro-level management views to assess overall efficacy. This provides valuable context and saves security analysts time in evaluating incoming threats, while delivering information critical to future planning. This data can be displayed via Swimlane’s dashboard or integrated into the MSSPs own reporting and management systems.
Scalable incident response workflows
SAO allows for expertise to be scaled across your SecOps team. With information and processes centralized, security operations are never held back by staffers having to spend time looking up what they should do for a particular customer — it’s built into the system. Importantly, all client processes (both formal and informal) are embedded into the solution, so knowledge doesn’t disappear when employees leave.
Retain valuable cybersecurity staff
It can be difficult to find 24/7 staffing for experts in every tool, especially with the current staffing shortage problem. SAO removes much of the operational drudgery that leads to alert fatigue and inevitably causes employees to leave. MSSPs are able to retain staff by making it easier for them to focus on important alerts without getting bogged down with repetitive work. Remember, every staff member that stays is one less you have to find!
SAO removes the operational drudgery that causes alert fatigue and inevitably causes employees to leave.
Swimlane: Built for MSSPs
Swimlane provides an MSSP-friendly approach to SAO by using an “API First” architecture that enables broad and easy integration with other systems. Our solution is easily scalable and works with your existing SIEM and other security tools without the need for proprietary connectors or custom coding.
Swimlane features a highly scalable, multi-tenant architecture. Separate customer workspaces for workflows, dashboards, reports, etc. ensures that customer data is separated and never exposed to other clients.
Swimlane helps solve the cybersecurity staffing shortage by increasing staff efficiency and lowering turnover.
Additional benefits of security automation and orchestration for MSSPs:
- Lowers mean time to resolution (MTTR)
- Helps provide consistent customer service
- Improves threat intelligence
- Speeds up and improves reporting
- Enables the use of lower-cost resources
- Adds revenue streams without adding operating costs
Want more information on the benefits of using SAO as an MSSP? Download our e-book.